Monday, December 31, 2007

Sam Moskowitz on Dreams in the Witch House

Moskowitz, like Forest J Ackerman, had a leading role as historian of the genre. Some of this has passed on to others, but his stature is still strong.



H. P. Lovecraft

One of the paradoxes of Lovecrates admirers is the annoyance they have felt when that talented author was referred to as a major science fiction writer as well as a master of the supernatural. Despite the undeniable evidence of The Colour Out of Space, The Whisperer in Darkness, The Shadow Out of Time, to name three major works, they have particularly rankled when shown how much closer to science fiction such masterpieces by him as ne Dunwich Horror, The Call of CthiAhu, The Shunned House and even The Temple were than to the supernatural.

The paradox rests in the strong efforts some of these same people have made to show that The Dreams in the Witch-House is as much science fiction as it is supernatural. They received no small assistance in this effort from H. P. Lovecraft who in the context of the story referred to Einstein's theories, the space-time continuum, "the elements of high atomic weight which chemistry was absolutely powerless to identify." The possibility of stepping from the third into the fourth dimension and back again, extra-dimensional geometry was considered, and finally the statement "the alien curves and spirals of some ethereal vortex which obeyed laws unknown to the physics and mathematics of any conceivable universe," sounded a note of frustration.
The truth way that H. P. Lovecraft did not believe in the supernatural. Never did and never would to the day of his death and felt that many of his readers didn't and attempted to offer the possibility that there was some scientific rather than supernatural explanation for witchcraft to make his stories more convincing.

In this he succeeded, for though The Dreams In The Witch-House cannot be said to be a "forgotten" masterpiece of horror, it is certainly far too infrequently encountered in anthologies of the genre.

Sam Moskowitz

Great Untold Stories of Fantasy and Horror, ed. Andre Norton & Sam Moskowitz, Pyramid, 1969

Vintage 1979 Ad for The Cthulhu Mythos"

Rare images of HPL's graves (1979)

I recently acquired a copy of Fantasy Mongers 2 (1979) ed. W. Paul Ganley.
I include the text that went with the photos.

An inveterate graveyard walker himself, H. P. Lovecraft often passed an enjoyable hour or two with a companion tromping through cemeter- ies looking for who knows what --- signs of the ancient ones or merely observing the angles headstones take as they descend to earth over a hundred years and the color and form of lichen- oids they accumulate during the fall.

Over the years the pastime of visiting graves has changed. There are of course the familial reasons --- visiting graves to pray for the dead; the curious --- whose unconscious does not harbor dread Jungian death archetypes? --; the collectors of headstone humor (no longer do we talk to the living from our graves); and there are those who go to cemeteries because they are places of beauty. Swan Point Cemetery is a place of beauty and the location of the Phillips-Lovecraft family plot --- which brings us to another reason the living have to visit the dead.
In Famous and Curious Cemeteries (John Mar- ion, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1977), the author in discussing Lovecraft notes: "In the past, members of a family visited a cemetery for fam- ilial reasons. In the twentieth century most cemeteries are places of pilgrimage for those who, in essence, form a cult. Those who admire a writer, artist, or statesman make the journey in an effort to achieve some communion with the long-revered deceased."

Interestingly, there are 23 former Rhode Island governors buried at Swan Point but the only grave that warrants a map is Lovecraft's. When I went into the office to inquire as to the location of the grave the woman squealed, "Oh my God, it's spring again --- they're coming to look at Lovecraft's grave already."

Lovecraft grave watchers will notice that the photo of the Phillips-Lovecraft family plot in Long's Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Drecmer on the Night Side does not include the Sarah S. Lovecraft, Winfield S. Lovecraft and Howard Phil- lips Lovecraft headstones. Sadly, I can report that Howard's stone does not tilt at an eerie or obscene angle nor is it encrusted with lichens.
All in all, it's a good trip for the Love- craft devotee and I would recommend that one get the First World Fantasy Awards Anthology and consult the map on page eleven for other places of interest.

An excerpt or two from Mr. Dinan's cover letter follows.

Dear Mr. Ganley:
I've enclosed a tong photo of the fonizy plot which you can view beside the photo on page 188 of Long's Arkham book on Lovecraft to establish the placement of the three new headstones.
I've also enclosed .... a czose-up of the Howard Phillips Lovecraft headstone.
John Dinan

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fantasy Mongers #1

$45.00. Fantasy Mongers 1 SUPER RARE Circa 1979 by W. Paul Ganley Front & Back Covers by J.K.Potter, "H.P. Lovecraft And Edmund Wilson" by L.Sprague De Camp, "An Interview With Robert Bloch" by Darrell Schweitzer and more... Very nice condition: just a hint of dirt on the white border, interior is pristine. Probably Never Read. Part of the Long Lost SWAN'S MAGAZINE MART COLLECTION *
Another copy surfaced , too, with a No.2.
$25.00 for set. Weirdbook Press: Buffalo 1979. Illus, 11 x 8.5", stapled wraps, 31; 39pp, ink date on No. 2, yellowed with cigarette smoke odor. The pair.

Lovecraft's Friend: W. Paul Cook

A hobby and a discovery: Two amateur journalists resurrect the colorful tales of Vermont writer W. Paul Cook

January 9, 2005

By A. C. Hutchison

Sean Donnelly is a scholarly 28-year-old native of Norwalk, Conn., with a master's degree in library science from the University of South Florida. Leland M. Hawes Jr., a 75-year-old Tampa native, retired recently after a lengthy and distinguished career in professional journalism.
The pair met last year when the head of the University of Tampa Press, Richard Mathews, invited Donnelly, his part-time assistant, to join him and his friend Hawes for one of their frequent lunches at the Valencia Garden, a popular Spanish restaurant within walking distance of the campus and an easy drive from the Tampa Tribune, where for the past 20 years the gentlemanly Hawes edited the "History & Heritage" page in the paper's Sunday edition.
Given the difference in their ages, Donnelly and Hawes were surprised to discover they had almost identical interests – interests that eventually led Mathews to agree to publish a collection of the rather idiosyncratic but charming writings of W. Paul Cook, a Vermont-born author who in the 1930s spent the most productive years of his life in North Montpelier.

One of those shared interests was in the science fiction and fantasy writings of a once-famous Rhode Island author named H. P. Lovecraft. And it was through their knowledge of Lovecraft that they also knew that both Cook and Lovecraft were major figures in the early days of an unusual hobby known as amateur journalism. What surprised Donnelly – himself a recent recruit to amateur journalism – that day at lunch was the discovery that Hawes, though a professional, was also one of the few still heavily engaged in that hobby.

"Probably one of my first thoughts after meeting Leland was: 'So there really are such people as amateur journalists,'" Donnelly remembers. "To me the hobby was a historical curiosity of the 1930s and before. It was surprising to learn that the hobby is still going strong and promoted enthusiastically by members like Leland."

Hawes, who has pursued the hobby since he was 12 (he printed his own neighborhood newspaper, complete with advertisements that he later learned were paid for by a relative), still publishes, at sporadic intervals, two private journals that he shares with friends and fellow hobbyists. Donnelly also has his own private journal, but unlike Hawes he utilizes modern printing technology.

"I was totally impressed with his obvious intellect, the broad range of his reading interests and his ability to express himself so articulately," Hawes recalls from that first encounter. "We have a lot of interests in common and we've become good friends."

Cook may be very much a part of Vermont's literary tradition, but neither Donnelly nor Hawes have any ties to the state. Donnelly admits to only the faintest memories of early family vacations to the Bennington area, and the otherwise well-traveled Hawes confesses to never having set foot in the Green Mountain state. Their book was produced not because of any fondness for or familiarity with Vermont; it was published for the most part with other amateur journalists and fans of Lovecraft as the target readers.

So, this is the story of how exactly their project came into being. Their book is titled "Willis T. Crossman's Vermont: Stories by W. Paul Cook." (Cook used Crossman as his pen name when these stories were first published.)

After that initial luncheon meeting, Donnelly and Hawes began an almost-daily exchange of e-mails and other correspondence, and they met weekly for lunch or dinner. They also spent many an evening in the special collections department of the University of South Florida library, searching for references to Cook or to his work.

"We each read the Crossman pieces and agreed 90 percent of the time about which ones to include in the book," Donnelly relates. "We both worked to gather the information, but I wrote the introduction. Leland read it several times and made helpful suggestions. And, yes, we were a good working team. Not a cross word was ever uttered."

Cook's writings are not quite prose and not quite poetry, at least in pure form, and even at the peak of his career he neither sought nor attained widespread literary fame. But within his own relatively small circle, one dominated by other men who indulged in amateur journalism, Cook was a highly respected figure. In fact, if you were to "Google" Cook's name on the Internet, the first citation would be of Cook's book about his literary hero, "In Memoriam: Howard Philips Lovecraft."

"Originally written in 1940, this work by W. Paul Cook, who was a close amateur journalism associate of Lovecraft's, is one of the finest memoirs ever to be written," the unsigned Google entry comments. "Filled with amusing and thought-provoking anecdotes, it helps create a portrait of Lovecraft which shows him to be a normal human being who possessed great literary talents."

Lovecraft, incidentally, was not universally admired. One famous critic, Edmund Wilson, described his writings as "bad taste and bad art" while another, Colin Wilson, said Lovecraft was a neurotic. Yet long after his death in 1937, the controversial author developed a loyal following among fans of science fiction and fantasy literature.

If Cook's literary reputation is virtually non-existent today – except among amateur journalists – it is largely because when he was writing his stories he had no intention of making money by doing so. In fact in his earlier years, he had once published a magazine with the motto "For Love Only, Not For Sale." Primarily, he saw himself as a printer and a hobbyist, not an entrepreneur.
"Throughout his life he showed little inclination to profit from what he wrote and published," Donnelly comments in the new book's introduction. "The Crossman books and pamphlets, set in type and printed by his own hands, impress one, above all else, as labors of love." That love, Donnelly adds, was for "his native Vermont's history, her land, and especially her people."
And, appropriately, it is their deep love of printing and writing, rather than any dreams of profit, that drew Donnelly and Hawes to the Cook project. In fact, the printing order for the book they've edited will be determined by the public's demand for it, and it's difficult to predict how large that will be. Modern technology enables the publisher to print just enough copies to fill orders and avoid accumulating a roomful of unsold books.

"Amateur journalism came into being after the Civil War, when small, cheap printing presses were developed, and young boys, primarily, used them to start their own little newspapers or home printing businesses," Hawes explains. "They charged minimal amounts at first, circulating them locally, but then organized into 'associations' and exchanged copies with each other."
Hawes says that the associations held conventions and members were serious enough that they sometimes had "hard-fought political battles" for their elected offices.

"In the early 20th century, the hobby ebbed and flowed, reaching a literary zenith under the influence of H. P. Lovecraft and W. Paul Cook in the 1915-1925 period," Hawes continues. "In the 1930s, a new resurgence of youth brought a mix of fine printing with quality material as well as crude leaflets produced on small hand-presses and mimeographs."

Today, he notes, there are fewer than 500 hobby printers in the United States and Canada. Membership in their associations is dwindling because, like him, most of the hobbyists are in their 60s or older. Only a handful of teens are involved, and Hawes speculates that's because federal safety rules eliminated the motorized printing presses that had intrigued so many boys in America's classrooms in the past. There's been a revolution in printing in the past few decades, and the art of hand-setting type is being lost.

"The era when someone like Cook could sit at a Linotype machine and turn out type for a massive journal is long gone," he observes.

Cook was born in 1880 in Mount Tabor, Vt. His mother died giving birth and his father, George, presumably felt that taking care of his new son was beyond his capabilities, so the child was raised by George's brother, William, and his wife, Alma LaBounty.

Their research, which provides the basis for his detailed introduction to the book, revealed to Donnelly and Hawes that Cook had spent his youth in both Vermont and New Hampshire and was intrigued by journalism at an early age, perhaps because another uncle was a printer. Cook wrote for the West Rutland Grade School's The Epoch and co-founded and edited The Red and Black, the student newspaper at Stevens High School in Claremont, N.H., while he lived in nearby Hanover. His involvement in amateur journalism began in 1901 when he joined the United Amateur Press Association, which had been founded six years earlier. That same year, Donnelly relates, Cook published his first edition of Monadnock Monthly, a literary magazine that brought him almost-instant celebrity status among amateur journalists. Later he also joined the older National Amateur Press Association.

"The amateur spirit is a very genuine thing, but quite unanalyzable," Cook wrote at the time. "A recruit either has it and recognizes in amateur journalism his rightful home, or he lacks it and quickly passes out."

Also while living in Hanover, where he studied English literature at Dartmouth and worked for the Dartmouth Press, Cook continued to publish the Monadnock Monthly. But in 1906, he began to drift around the country, finding work here and there as a printer. According to Donnelly, he may even have traveled as far as England and Jamaica before he returned to New England in 1910. It was then that he met his future wife, Adeline Emmeline Smith, who owned the boarding house where Cook lived in Danvers, Conn.

They married in 1912 and the next year moved to Athol, Mass., a place that Cook described as "absolutely devoid of historical, architectural, scenic, archeological, or sentimental interest." And yet, Donnelly notes, it was the move to these drab surroundings that "marked the beginning of the most settled and productive period of his life."

Taking a job at the local daily newspaper as professional journalist, Cook made enough money to buy his first home and add many books to his collection. And, as the introduction to this new book notes, Cook was able to use the newspaper's equipment to print "more and larger amateur journals for himself and his fellow hobbyists." Donnelly writes that Cook's own journal for that period – he called it The Vagrant – "remains one of the most substantial contributions ever made toward promoting a high literary standard for amateur journalism."

It was during this period that Cook befriended Lovecraft. After their first meeting, in 1917, the Rhode Island author wrote to another friend: "I was rather surprised at his appearance, for he is rather more rustic & carelessly groomed than I had expected [with an] antique derby hat, unpressed garments, frayed cravat, yellowish collar, ill-brushed hair, & none too immaculate hands … [But] Cook's conversation makes up for whatever outward deficiencies he may possess."

The two writers began taking sightseeing tours, traveling from Brattleboro to Providence and paying special attention to such coastal communities as Marblehead, Mass., and Newport, R.I. They were taking note of 18th century architecture and looking for Old Farmer's Almanacs and traces of their New England roots. That quest naturally took them to old cemeteries, and it was on their headstones that Cook apparently found inspiration for many of the unusual names he would use for characters in his later Vermont tales.

(Cook insisted he found it unnecessary to invent names out of thin air, "and I question if a name can be invented that has not really been used." His names were certainly colorful and seem unique. In one of his brief narratives, for instance, he came up with "Willingly Woodbury" as the name for an undertaker. But despite such imaginative efforts, he said, "I expect any day to hear from someone bearing one of my synthetic appellations.")

By 1927, when he was still living in Athol, Cook realized he really wanted to publish books and magazines of higher quality, so he founded The Recluse Press and a magazine called The Recluse. The most notable feature of the only issue was the first printing of Lovecraft's highly esteemed "Supernatural Horror in Literature." The magazine's cover featured an illustration by Vrest Orton, who in 1946 would establish the Vermont Country Store. The magazine also featured an article about "Early Vermont Minstrelsy" by a Walter John Coates, a Universalist minister.

Later, Coates would play a major role in Cook's life. He was the editor of Driftwind magazine and the owner of The Driftwind Press, which he published from his general store in North Montpelier. Coates and Cook met sometime in the 1920s and spent time together at Coates's home in North Calais. Also present at these gatherings was Orton, whom Cook described as "one of my dearest friends. … I envy him his energy and his resurgent power to dream and make his dreams come true."

In time, Cook would wind up working at the Driftwind Press, essentially a commercial enterprise, but initially his Recluse Press was busy cranking out volumes of poetry by friends whose talents he admired, including Arthur H. Goodenough of Brattleboro, and a book by Coates. But Cook's wife of 16 years, Adeline, died in 1929 after a long illness, and his life was turned upside down.

"I suddenly found myself struck down from a comfortable condition of life with an income of about $5,000 to a grade of no income and in debt about $1,000," he wrote to a friend. "I have discarded everything; have given away or thrown away everything, including my job, my real estate, my household furnishings, my library."

Depressed, Cook moved around New England, living for a time in Boston, then in Sunapee, N.H. (where his sister, Cora, lived), in East St. Louis, Ill., and with Coates in North Montpelier. Coates gave Cook a chance to work as a printer, choosing his own pace and his own projects. And it was about this time that Cook introduced his penname 'Willis T. Crossman' as a poet and began writing the passages that so intrigued Donnelly and Hawes. As Donnelly notes, it was in the early 1930s that "Crossman became the mouthpiece of Cook's anger and speculations" as he expressed his dismay with the effects of the Great Depression and began to question his own beliefs. His political views were left of center and he did not care for organized religion, although he had spiritual leanings and a belief in "something greater."

But the Crossman volumes weren't enough. Cook needed to earn a living and there is evidence, in his letters to friends, that he sought jobs in Boston and New York City before taking a job as associate publisher of a newspaper owned by a fellow amateur journalist in Illinois in 1936. But by October of the following year, he was back in New England, although it's not clear why he had moved again. Donnelly notes that Cook was depressed by the unexpected death of his friend Lovecraft at the age of 46.

Once again, Cook turned to Coates and North Montpelier. It was then that Crossman really blossomed as a Vermont storyteller. The Driftwind Press published two volumes of his tales in 1938 and 1939; some of them had originally been published in the Driftwind magazine and in The Rutland Herald, but most were previously unpublished.

As Donnelly notes, the Crossman stories "don't even look like stories at first glance. With their short broken lines and stanza arrangements they appear to be verse. But they are really prose pieces set in creative typography. Cook's innovation had a practical purpose: to make brief texts more substantial on the printed page."

And he had another "more subtle" purpose, Donnelly observes: To provide visual clues for the reader "like what to emphasize, where to pause. … They suggest unobtrusively how best to read them."

For the remainder of his life Cook divided his time between his sister's home in New Hampshire and the North Montpelier print shop. He was busy. During this period, he produced his most notable work, the aforementioned appreciation of Lovecraft. In 1941, Coates suffered a fatal heart attack, and Cook agreed to stay on as foreman and business manager at the Driftwood Press.

"I am busier than a guy my age ought to be," Cook wrote to a friend in 1946. "At the present moment I have five books on hand beside the regular monthly magazine, and haven't the time I would like for my own little amusements." However, he did find time to publish five issues of his own amateur journal, The Ghost. Donnelly describes the journal's name as "revealing" in that its contents "lean heavily toward his abiding interest in supernatural literature."

Although the five books Cook mentioned were Driftwood Press projects – as opposed to his own literary creations – and are not especially valuable today, Donnelly points out they are difficult to obtain. Cook himself published one hardcover and one paperback Crossman book during this period, plus a dozen Crossman pamphlets. His unfinished volume on Lovecraft ("The Shunned House") sells for $6,000 or more, Donnelly notes.

In 1947, Cook took ill and on Jan. 22, 1948, he died. Later, his sister wrote: "I feel that he was happy there at No. Montpelier as he was practically his own boss and had a chance to do a great deal of writing." And Donnelly speculates that perhaps he finally found happiness in these last years.

Donnelly and Hawes hope that, besides appealing to hobby printers and Lovecraft admirers, their book will introduce Cook's writings to a New England audience that may never have heard of him and restore him to what they believe is his rightful place in the pantheon of regional authors.

"What his exact place may be is not for us to say," Donnelly says. "His fellow New Englanders will judge best."

Editor's note: The book will be available through the University of Tampa Press and will be printed on an as-ordered basis. Orders can be placed online at, and bookstores can obtain copies through distributors (Baker & Taylor and Ingram). Donnelly said the price has yet to be determined.

A.C. Hutchison was editor of the Times Argus before he retired several years ago. He lives in Inverness, Fla.

W. Paul Cook writings

Zabdiel Morton kept the general store
In Worcester.
He was a much respected but cordially hated man,
Who had been the only one to profit
By the gold mines on Minister Brook—
And his gains did not come
From digging or washing gold.
He was an absolutely honest man,
So honest that he leaned backward,
Paid every cent that he owned on the dot,
And expected the same from others.
Never was known to give a half-ounce
Over or under weight—in fact,
Never was known to give anything
Or to cheat anyone.
He is the one of whom it is told
That he would bite a chocolate in two
To get exact weight—
But you always got your half of the chocolate.
He represented the town in the Legislature,
And held all responsible offices.
A hard man—too hard, too just, to be popular.
Pity the poor soul who owed him money,
As many inevitably did.
Worcester is the town, you will remember,
Where the graveyard was partly washed out
In the flood, and where,
According to Dorman Kent's graphic description,
"Dead bodies were left hanging in trees
And strewed carelessly about."
If there are those living
Who remember Zabdiel Morton,
Doubtless they hope
His was one of the "dead bodies."
Chauncey Coffein would be especially tickled
If he could see Zabdiel in this predicament.
Chauncey was by no means indigent,
Having in his later life accumulated a competence
On his stock farm In the shade of Hunger Mountain,
But in his younger days he had gotten himself
Into Zabdiel's clutches by means of credit,
And suffered considerable anxiety
Before he was freed.
Chauncey never forgot it.
On the morning of Zabdiel's funeral
Pardon Vance drove into the Coffein yard.
"Going to the funeral, Chauncey?" he asked. '
"Huh!" said Chauncey, "I should say I am!
Been waiting for the chance
For thirty years!"

I have been warned
To avoid Essex Junction.
It seems that Ed Phelps,
In a burst of impatience,
Or cantankerousness,
Was quite harsh about the place
Some years ago,
Since which time it is taboo—
To a writer—
Though still talked about.
Personally, I see no reason
Why Essex Junction
Should be exploited
And White River Junction

Five hours is the most
I have been kept waiting
At the former place,
While at the latter
I was stalled for twenty-four
Trying to get home
One Christmas.
Why should the western part
Of the state
Get all the desirable
At the expense of the eastern?
However that may be,
The tall tales
Are all about Essex.
We are told
That a hotel was built
Near the station
Expressly to accommodate
Those stuck there over night,
And that a cemetery
Was laid out Handy to the depot
For the final resting place
Of those who died
Before their trains came in.
If you don't believe these stories,
You are told to
Go and see the hotel
And the cemetery.
The following
You will have to take
On faith.
I got it from an old codger
Whom I wouldn't believe
On a stack of Acts of the General Assembly,
But who said he got it
From the conductor
Of the train in question.
For proof,
He said the conductor
Had confiscated the pitcher
And had shown it to him.
It seems this train
Pulled into Essex Junction
An hour before expected
One morning—
(It was yesterday's train.)
This was in the middle of winter,
And everybody in the hose!
Was keeping under the covers
As long as possible.
The tooting of the whistle
And the ringing of the bell
Caused much ado,
But everyone was routed out
And sent hastening to the train.
Apparently all were aboard,
And the conductor was about
To cry out the fact,
When a disheveled gentleman,
With most of his outer garments
Over one arm,
And carrying a bedroom pitcher
In the other hand,
Emerged from the hotel
And dashed for the depot.
He made the grade,
And the conductor
Helped him up the steps
And inside. "Didn't you have time to wash?"
Asked the conductor,
Glancing at the pitcher.
The passenger gesticulated excitedly
And indignantly,
Mumbled and mouthed
And the conductor finally made out:
Frozen in that pitcher."

To anyone who looked over the situation,
It was a profound mystery
How Jedediah Jeffards had managed to exist,
To say nothing of accumulating a balance,
On that small and none too productive farm
Underneath Bird Mountain in Ira.
But neighbors said he always lived well,
Was a good provider;
And when he died,
His wife, Julana, owned the place free and clear,
And had a substantial balance in a safe bank
(If there is any such thing.)
Julana looked over the few poor acres
Which had sapped Jedediah's vitality
And sent him to an early grave, at sixty-five,
And a sudden anger flamed in her head –
She could not bear the sight of the place.
With all haste she moved her household chattels
Into a rented house in West Rutland,
Sold the place in Ira for a song—
But all it was really worth—
And looked around for a home
In which to end her days.
Her only living relative was a sister
Living in the Tice neighborhood in Holland.
Julana went up there,
Stayed with her sister for a time,
And looked over the vicinity.
Apparently the nearest place she could buy
To advantage
Was an attractive little farm in Norton,
Which suited her to a T.
With one hired man the place could be made
Not only self-supporting,
But possibly even profitable.
Julana planked down a payment
And waited for the deeds.
Whereupon a snag was struck.
Titles to land were exceedingly doubtful
Since the burning of the town charter
Early in the last century,
And the place Julana wanted
Was so near the Canada line
That it was necessary
To call an international commission
To definitely settle the question and mark the line
So hazy were records and surveys
That Canada claimed all of Julana's purchase.
After an interminable delay,
The bringing into play of the diplomatic resources
Of two great nations,
The employment of technical experts,
And an unholy expenditure of money,
It was finally decided that Julana's farm
Lay entirely within the boundaries
Of the United States and of Vermont.
Julana sighed with relief.
"I am so glad my place is in the United States,
She said,
"It is just what I want,
And they do say
The winters in Canada are awful cold."

Lovecraft's Friend: Arthur Goodenough

“Songs of Four Decades” by Arthur H. Goodenough, published by W. Paul Cook/The Recluse Press (Athol, Massachusetts) in 1927, 5.75” x 8.5” hardcover (red cloth on boards with paper title plates on the cover and spine), no dust jacket, 160 pages.

W. Paul Cook, a writer who used the pen name Willis T. Crossman, was an amateur journalist and a companion of H.P. Lovecraft (he wrote a memorial volume on Lovecraft in 1940). He moved to Athol in 1912 and went to work for a local newspaper, whose presses he used to print assorted journals and books by himself and acquaintances. Cook founded the Recluse Press in 1926 (his most notable publication was a single issue of a magazine that published Lovecraft’s “"Supernatural Horror in Literature”).

Click this link to read an article on W. Paul Cook that appeared in the Barre Montpelier Times Argus.

Goodenough was a Brattleboro, Vermont, poet. The poems previously appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Boston Ideas, the Boston Daily Post, the Brattleboro Reformer, the New England Homestead, and other publications.

Condition is very good: clean contents, scattered minor foxing, tight binding, firm hinges, owner's name (Malcolm M. Goodenough, dated 1961) on the front free endpaper.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lovecraft's Sexuality: Part Two

First, I hope that I am long dead before people start psychoanalyzng me. :)

The query here is that while Lovecraft was clearly (in my opionon) heterosexual, he seemed not to have passion or want sex like many people do. Even in his day, with Victorian mores (or Edwardian mores) people did have sex drives. The Hollywood tanloids of the 20's and 30's clearly show that people cared deeply about their sexuality and their urges. They were not quite as explicit as the swinging 60's or the Me Decade, but they did have deep energies.

I found the information at of interest in thinking about Lovecraft's behavior.

An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community, each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.

Asexual people have the same emotional needs as anyone else, and like in the sexual community we vary widely in how we fulfill those needs. Some asexual people are happier on their own, others are happiest with a group of close friends.

{Lovecraft loved to be surrounded by people, and he keenly felt Noblesse Oblige. - CP}

Other asexual people have a desire to form more intimate romantic relationships, and will date and seek long-term partnerships. Asexual people are just as likely to date sexual people as we are to date each other. Sexual or nonsexual, all relationships are made up of the same basic stuff. Communication, closeness, fun, humor, excitement and trust all happen just as much in sexual relationships as in nonsexual ones.

Unlike sexual people, asexual people are given few expectations about the way that our intimate relationships will work. Figuring out how to flirt, to be intimate, or to be monogamous in a nonsexual relationships can be challenging, but free of sexual expectations we can form relationships in ways that are grounded in our individual needs and desires.

Many asexual people experience attraction, but we feel no need to act out that attraction sexually. Instead we feel a desire to get to know someone, to get close to them in whatever way works best for us.

For Lovecraft, correspondence was his fulfillment. He spent every cent he had on postage, and at the end of his life he was doing more correspondence than at the begiining of his career. He would write dozens of pages. He needed people, and his letters were frequently obliging and clever to draw out details about a person's interests. - CP

Asexual people who experience attraction will often be attracted to a particular gender, and will identify as gay, bi, or straight. For some sexual arousal is a fairly regular occurrence, though it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners. Other asexual people experience little or no arousal. Because we don’t care about sex, asexual people generally do not see a lack of sexual arousal as a problem to be corrected, and focus their energy on enjoying other types of arousal and pleasure.

There is no litmus test to determine if someone is asexual. Asexuality is like any other identity- at its core, it’s just a word that people use to help figure themselves out. If at any point someone finds the word asexual useful to describe themselves, we encourage them to use it for as long as it makes sense to do so.

So, this is an iussue that has never been raised to my knowledge about Lovecraft. It may or may not be relevant, but considering his stories are nihilistic, materialist, absent of females, absent of strong characterization, and lacking any sexuality to speak of, then we have to wonder about his psyche.

However, we can also detect a bit of selfishness and self-centeredness. There is considerable autobiography in his stories - and letters. He has a fetish about presenting himself as not only antiquarian, but OLD.

Asexuality may be a strong motivating factor in his poetry, fiction, and correspondence.

Lovecraft's Sexuality: Part One

This is a bit touchy, but when I read the column (below) today, it struck a chord. S T Joshi's biography makes much over Lovecraft's seeming lack of sexual needs. It seems nearly absent in Lovecraft's stories. He makes virtually no mention of female characters. Yet, he certainly had a lot of attraction to women in his lifetime. Muriel Eddy states that she tried to set him up with Hazel Heald. We know that Sonia was quite attracted to him, and he to her. Whata are we to make of this?

Many others have spoken on this, but mostly from either a homosexual or heterosexual point of view. Robert Barlow was fond of HPL, but there seemed to be no sexual attraction, and this seems consistent with other homosexuals. To put it flippantly, and in a modern way, their "Gaydar" didn't go off. Women were often attracted to HPL, and he seemed especially fond of older women from time to time. Emphasis on fond. He never remarried, nor seemingly did he care for it. He spent a lot of time with his pals, and when Sonia split, he was not overly burdened by it. He missed Providence more than Sonia, though forgive me if that is a bit harsh.

Here is today's column. When I read it, I thought that Sonia might have written it.


Annie's Mailbox®, December 29, 2007

Dear Annie: Like "Craving Intimacy in Indiana," I am married to a man who shows no interest in sex. It's been years since we were intimate, and before that, sex was infrequent. We have been married for 35 years. After I threatened divorce, he went to a doctor and was given medicine to treat his low testosterone, but he refuses to take it.

I also feel unattractive, unwanted and unloved. I also know other men find me attractive, but I don't want an affair. I am turning into a bitter woman. I have not filed for divorce because I worry what our grown children would say and I don't want to give up the financial security my husband and I have worked for. No one in our community or family has any idea.

How do I find a counselor or therapist? I live in a rural area, and everyone knows everyone's business. I don't want to become known as the horny old woman down the road. — Me, Too
Dear Me, Too: It helps if your husband is willing to work on the marriage, too, but either way, you can find the name of a therapist near you through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy locator service ( or by writing them at 112 South Alfred St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Some therapists are willing to do sessions over the phone or online. Here's more on the subject:

Wisconsin: "Craving Intimacy" felt it was her problem. It is not. It is 100 percent his. My husband and I hold hands, kiss and love each other without question, but it has been six years since he has touched me in a sexual way. Ten years ago, he was diagnosed with low testosterone, but he refused treatment. He is now 46 and has been getting more and more depressed and refuses help. My husband is a wonderful man and has always been there for me, so I can deal with the lack of sex. Yes, I love him that much.
Quebec: I think her husband is asexual, meaning he has no interest in sex.

Asexuality is a largely unrecognized orientation, but it does exist. About 1 percent of the population is asexual. Asexuals are capable of love and emotional intimacy, but the sexual attraction is not there. Many people are asexual and don't realize it. For more information, go to

Chicago: Her husband is almost certainly gay. I was best man at my friend's wedding years ago, and his marriage turned out to be almost identical to "Craving's." He finally came out of the closet and his wife divorced him. But by that time, her self-esteem had been destroyed and she really has never recovered.

Southern California: I lived with this scenario for years, questioned my attractiveness and sensuality and received the same response from my husband. We went to counseling several times where he claimed "work-related stress." Well, surprise! He was having an affair at work and had been having affairs throughout our 28-year marriage. Annie, do your married female writers a bittersweet favor and tell them that married men are having sex outside of marriage in record numbers and the guilt can prevent them from having sex with the wife even if they want to. Finding out the truth is unimaginably painful, but it beats the constant toll on the feminine self-esteem. I could kick myself for being so trusting.

Wisconsin: I am 41, attractive, smart and talented and have a sexless marriage. My husband has been tested for testosterone levels and they are on the low side, but not low enough to prompt pharmaceutical intervention. Instead, the doctor prescribed Viagra — of no use if the desire is missing.

Texas: And I thought it was just us. I've asked my husband to go to counseling and get his testosterone checked. Neither has happened. It's sad and lonely. Sometimes I think it's just a matter of "whoever dies first wins."

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

H.P. LOVECRAFT: FOUR DECADES OF CRITICISM edited by S.T. Joshi (Signed by Robert Bloch)

Recently surfaced copy signed by Robert Bloch ! $159.00.

Robert Bloch, S.T. Joshi, Fritz Leiber

Ohio State University Press

This anthology, spanning nearly forty years of criticism, embodies the wide range of opinions evoked by the writings of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Originally published in pulp magazines, which in the early part of this century were the only market for fantasy fiction, H.P. Lovecraft’s works were not recognized by the literary world in his lifetime. After Lovecraft’s death, associates and fans published his work in book form, thus beginning his slow rise from obscurity. Since that time, critical acceptance of Lovecraft’s works has fluctuated greatly, from those who feel that his work is juvenile and undeserving of serious study to those who consider him to be another Poe.

In addition to representing the ambivalent critical responses to Lovecraft’s writings, this volume also examines the literary influences that affected him, his poetry and essays, his work as a regional and local-color writer, and the evolution of his vast pseudo-mythology in both his writings and the writings of others, as well as his reactions to the political and economic development of his time.

Above all, this volume is designed to present Lovecraft to the academic world which has virtually ignored him for forty years, capping his metamorphosis from a forgotten pulp writer to a brilliant fantaisiste with a worldwide following.


Preface by S.T. Joshi

H.P. Lovecraft: His Life and Work Kenneth W. Faig, Jr. and S.T. Joshi

Lovecraft Criticism: A Study S.T. Joshi

A Chronology of Selected Works by H.P. Lovecraft S.T. Joshi

H.P. Lovecraft: An Appreciation T. O. Mabbott

Tales of the Marvellous and the Ridiculous Edmund Wilson

A Literary Copernicus Fritz Leiber, Jr.

From The Supernatural in Fiction Peter Penzoldt

The Cthulhu Mythos: A Study George T. Wetzel

Some Notes on Cthulhuian Pseudobiblia Edward Lauterbach

H.P. Lovecraft: Myth-Maker Dirk W. Mosig

On the Literary Influences Which Shaped Lovecraft’s Works J. Vernon Shea

Through Hyperspace with Brown Jenkin: Lovecraft’s Contribution to Speculative Fiction Fritz Leiber, Jr.

The Influence of Vathek on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath Peter Cannon

Poe and Lovecraft Robert Bloch

H.P. Lovecraft in Hawthornian Perspective Peter Cannon

Facts in the Case of H.P. Lovecraft Barton L. St. Armand

"The White Ship": A Psychological Odyssey Dirk W. Mosig

Lovecraft and the Cosmic Quality in Fiction Richard L. Tierney

Dystopia as Utopia: Howard Phillips Lovecraft and the Unknown Content of American Horror Literature Paul Buhle

A Parenthesis on Lovecraft as Poet Winfield Townley Scott

A Lovecraftian Nightmare R. Boerem

The Continuity of the Fungi from Yuggoth R. Boerem

To Howard Phillips Lovecraft Clark Ashton Smith

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rare Item: The Ghost (W Paul Cook)

Rare item surfaces @ starting bid of $75.00.

THE GHOST Issue #5 July 1947. Final issue of this short lived amateur journal created by H P Lovecraft circle member W Paul Cook. Includes material by Cook, E Hoffman Price, Rheinhart Kleiner, Edward H Cole, H. C. Koenig on his weird fiction collection & more. Very scarce fan publication. Pieces lacking from spine, tears to oversized cover edges with few small chips, printed on good rag content, quality paper which but for a couple light bends is VG well preserved.

P Schuyler Miller

Finally, I've tracked down (or at least had time to track down) a bio of Mr. Miller.

Some highlights are that he died in 1974, and besides the few links I've previously listed, it seems he was a chemist and worked for the famous Preiser Scientific. Man, I've purchased a lot of stuff from them over the years.

If you cross paths with a copy of Analog, Feb 1975 there's an article by Sam Moskowitz that details Miller's SF career.

T Peter Park's recollection of 1958 Fresco Seminar Booklet

I myself ordered a copy of that 1958 HPL issue of FRESCO a long, long time ago, back in 1959 or 1960, after seeing it advertised or reviewed in one of the science-fiction magazines at the time. I know I had it and often referred to it for many years, but I have no idea where it might now be amongst all my old books, papers, and magazines. David H. Keller's "Shadows Over Lovecraft." I remember, was a rather thorough inquiry into HPL's medical history, concluding that HPL probably did not contract hereditary syphilis or paresis from his father, and noting that HPL was finally felled by two real-life demons never mentioned in his stories--cancer and Bright's Disease. Samuel Loveman's "Lovecraft As a Conversationalist," I think, might have described the only time in his life when HPL got slightly tipsy, as a result of somebody at a party surreptitiously slipping some booze into his Coke or iced tea. Loveman's essay, too, I recall, mentioned HPL's Latinate nickname for him, "Samuelus."

{The mention of Bright's disease by Keller clears up a big mystery for me. Sam Moskowitz, in a preface of an anthology, mentioned this and I never knew where the idea came from. - CP}

Lovecraft's Legacy (1966)

There seems to be no end to the thousands of items of Lovecraftiana one can collect. This one is a 1966 Arkham compilation with a Fritz Leiber, some HPL poems, and a story by Derleth taken from some Lovecraft notes. C M Eddy has stories, and Jack Chalker has a bibliography. I actually ran into several Chalker paperback novels at the used bookstore, so he was pretty prolific for a long while with his own books. It's nice to know a SF writer was an HPL fan.

I think I've covered virtually every year since HPL's death on his "Legacy" now and it shows the trajectory that occurred in fandom. Derleth was behind much of it. His hand is often seen in anthology inclusions of HPL's work. The fanzines are a different trajectory, but they always intersect with "mainstream" HPL work that Derleth and Arkham initiated. Certainly Carter and Leiber and de Camp and others worked independently with their own energy and passion to preserve HPL's legacy.

Donald Wolheim, Duane Rimel, Stuart David Schiff, Jack L Chalker, Sam Moskowitz, and so many others also - at one time or other - took turns promoting HPL through the fan magazine approach. I've included many examples through the years of these fanzines as they leave one collector's hand and move to another, to be unseen for many more years.

Collects previously unpublished stories, poetry and articles that Lovecraft wrote, and also some pieces about Lovecraft written by others. Issued in 1966. First edition. A touch of soiling to the page edges from handling, and a few rubbing spots on the jacket all we can see in the way of defects, and the jacket is NOT clipped.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mirage #9 1970

MIRAGE #9 1970. 42 page hectographed fanzine published by Jack L. Chalker, who later founded Mirage Press and somewhat even later became a popular science fiction author in his own right. Nonfiction includes “Prolegomenon to a Constitution for the Planet Mongo” by John Boardman (a detailed article on Flash Gordon’s adopted world), a checklist of the unpublished works of David H. Keller by Paul Spencer and “The Necronomicon: A Bibliography” by Jack L. Chalker and Mark Owings. Back cover detached but present, otherwise a Very Good copy. There is no reserve on this item. Thank you. CFM Books, Charles F. Miller, Publisher, Inc.

Lovecraft's Legacy (1975) Collection to that date.

Another poor image. It does show the importance that collectors play. One would think Libraries would do this work, but I suppose there just is no public money anymore. Sadly, I have to admit I don't know anything about "Grill / Binkin".

Lovecraft, H. P. A CATALOG OF LOVECRAFTIANA: The Grill/Binkin Collection cataloged and Annotated by Mark Owings and Irving Binkin. Mirage, 1975. First Edition, trade paperback. An amazing collection including 22 pages of photos of books, manuscripts and journals including Home Brew. A Fine copy with a few light splash marks on white front cover. Thank you. CFM Books, Charles F. Miller, Publisher, Inc.
addendum - apparently this exists in two forms.
Lovecraft, H. P. A CATALOG OF LOVECRAFTIANA: THE GRILL/BINKIN COLLECTION cataloged and annotated by Mark Owings and Irving Binkin. Mirage Press, 1975. First Edition. 71 page hardcover of an amazing collection of Lovecraft material including 22 pages of photos of books, manuscripts and journals including Home Brew. This is one 500 unnumbered copies bound in back cloth. A Very Good copy with dust soiling to boards, without dust jacket, as issued.

Lovecraft's Legacy (England 1952)

Not a great image. It does show that by 1952, England had a fan contingent of Lovecraft's work - 15 years after his death.

OPERATION FANTAST #13/14 Winter 1952. 57 page small size British fanzine printed offset published by Capt. K. F. Slater. 4 page article/index “Lovecraft’s Amateur Press Works” by George T. Wetzel, articles on Weird Tales author Frank Owen, London Convention report with b & w photos, news, reviews, nicely illustrated with b & w illustrations scattered throughout. Rusted staples, small stains on covers, corner turns, a Very Good copy. Thank
you. CFM Books, Charles F. Miller, Publisher, Inc.

Lovecraft's Legacy (1945) Derleth's Memoir

Lovecraft, H. P. H. P. L.: A MEMOIR by August Derleth. Ben Abramson, Publisher, 1945. First Edition with no statement of edition on copyright page and with the original $2.50 price intact on the front dj flap. 122 page hardcover of this literary biography with tinted photograph of Lovecraft tipped in as the frontispiece Bibliography and Index. A Very Good copy with tiny corner bumps, thin edge of residue from old style dust jacket protector along bottom edge pf boards, bookplate on inside front board in a Good dust jacket with wear with loss at top and 1 inch piece off base of spine, wear with loss at corners, small piece off bottom edge and short tears along top edgeof front panel, stains and creases along top edge of back panel. This is not a common book, scarce in jacket. There is no reserve on this item. Postage and insurance is $4.50 additional to be paid by the buyer. Your book will be carefully packed and shipped by U.S.Mail. Payment may be made by Visa/Mastercard/money order or check. Auctions may be combined for one postage charge. Please visit our other auctions and be sure to bookmark our auctions and check back regularly to see what‘s new. Thank you. CFM Books, Charles F. Miller, Publisher, Inc.

Lovecraft's Legacy (1958) Symposium

Lovecraft, H. P. FRESCO: The University of Detroit Quarterly Spring 1958 Vol. 8 #3. The University of Detroit, 1958. "Howard Phillips Lovecraft Memorial Symposium." 68 page softcover completely dedicated to Lovecraft. Articles include "H. P. L.--An Informal Commentary" by Joseph Payne Brennan, "H. P. L.--Two Decades After " by August Derleth, "Shadows Over Lovecraft" by David H. Keller, "My Correspondence with Lovecraft" by Fritz Leiber, "Lovecraft as a Conversationalist" by Samuel Loveman, "Lovecraft and the Amateur Press" by George W. Macauley and more with a Bibliography. A Very Good copy with some foxing and rubbing on the covers and bending to the overextended covers. An uncommon item with serious commentary by an all-star line-up. There is no reserve on this item. Postage and insurance is $4.00 additional to be paid by the buyer. Your book will be carefully packed and shipped by U.S.Mail. Payment may be made by Visa/Mastercard/money order or check. Auctions may be combined for one postage charge. Please visit our other auctions and be sure to bookmark our auctions and check back regularly to see what‘s new. Thank you. CFM Books, Charles F. Miller, Publisher, Inc.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Frank Belknap Long (1926)

A rare copy of A Man From Genoa surfaces. Seller includes one of the poems.

With a preface by Samuel Loveman.

The Recluse Press,1926.


Penned name of former owner in the blank front end page.@" X 2" chip to top right area of the blank back end page.Pastedown title on front board.LIGHT rubbing to board tips.SOLID & CLEAN,BRIGHT & CRISP.GOOD +. 31 pages.SIGNED BY FRANK BELKNAP LONG.LONG'S FIRST PUBLISHED WORK.Twenty poems including one on reading Arthur Machen. LIMITED PRINTING OF 315 copies released ! The Recluse Press' First Title !
HERE is a LEGENDARY title in the flesh & SIGNED !!

.........THE PROPHET.....
"He stood by the river and whistled through his hands
And ibises from Egypt filled the morning lands;
They circled in the air,and their wings caught the sun
And they turned gold and crimson ere his song was done.
II knew he was a prophet,and I swore by my hat
To place on Hathor's altar a yellow tiger-cat:
But then he somehow heard me,and though I tried to fly
He turned and cursed,and I became-a shadow on the sky ! "

Sounds a bit like H.P.Lovecraft's NYARLARTHOTEP !
HERE is the Cthulhu Mythos author in his first rare work !

Lovecraft's Legacy (1957) Derleth's The Murky Glass

The MAY 1957 (and second) issue of the pulp digest SATURN: Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 1 Number 2, featuring:
A “Different” Science-Fantasy Novelette
The Big Terrarium……………James H. SCHMITZ
Eight Fantastic Short Stories
The Earthman……………Milton LESSER
Tunnel 1971……………Charles EINSTEIN
The Night Express……………Damon KNIGHT
Mark XI……………Cordwainer SMITH
Mr. Frightful……………Charles A. STEARNS
The 4D Bargain……………Evelyn E. SMITH
The Murky Glass (1st publication of this story) ……………H. P. LOVECRAFT & August DERLETH
Male Refuge……………Lloyd BIGGLE, JR.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from H P Lovecraft

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. CHRISTMAS CARD, signed "HP" [in monogram style] and dated 1934 in Roman numerals by Lovecraft. Stiff card, 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches, printed on recto only, four color printing, probably chromolithography. With envelope addressed to Robert H. Barlow, postmarked 17 December 1934. The card illustrates a ninteenth-century New England winter scene. The card was printed in duotone (black and gold) and then hand-tinted. Fine. (#109146) Price: $550.00

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fritz Leiber, Senior

Lovecraft saw Leiber Sr in plays as a young man, and later corresponded with his son giving him writing advice. These types of documents are quickly in and out of collectors hands, so here is an image of Leiber's (Sr) signature.
Seller's Comments:
FRITZ LEIBER, SR. Autograph Letter signed: "Fritz Leiber", 1p, 8¼x10¾. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, 1932 June 28. To "My dear Mr. Robertson". In full: "I have your letter. I do not plan to go out untill [sic] November this season, and am not making any engagements untill [sic] early in September. I suggest you write me at that time to the above address. You must be posessed [sic] of ability, as Mr. Rosenfield is a good judge. Sincerely." Fritz Leiber, Sr. (1882-1949) was a noted Shakespearean actor, director and producer. He made his first appearance on the Broadway stage in 1909, his last in 1933. He was the father of popular fantasy/science fiction writer Fritz Leiber. Lightly creased and soiled. Horizontal and vertical folds. Otherwise, fine condition. $399.00

Saturday, December 22, 2007

2nd Copy of rare Muriel Eddy Memoir surfaces

The seller states: ... this is RARE (certainly under 100 copies) ... It is six pages, in green paper covers, and fine with a tad of rusting at the staples. As you likely know. Lovecraft was a noted WEIRD TALES author whose works were preserved by August Derleth and Arkham House. Muriel and C.M. Eddy were friends and fellow authors.
The starting bid on this item is $125.00 with ab uy-it-now of $175.00 The previous item in poorer condition sold for a bit over $200.00. - CP

Lovecraft was 10 at the turn of the century

He didn't believe in Santa. Imagine a battle of Santa and Cthulhu!! Here are a few glimpses of Christmas cards in 1900. I have another one for Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gleanings: Lovecraft on a wrong Roman legend

Lovecraft, in O Fortunate Floridian (p. 57), casatigates the old myth of the games thusly:

"The Sign of the Cross" {Paramount 1932 Cecil B DeMille} was quite a spectacle, even though it gives a sadly one-sided picture of Roman Life - leaving out the sober, normal citizenry altogether. In the arena scenes I noted the persitent error which has haunted folklore for many generations - namely, that downturned thumbs were the signal for the killing of a conquered opponent. How this common mistake ever gained currency I'm hanged if I know, but it seems very deep seated. Actually, upturned thumbs formed the death signal, while waved handkerchiefs were the signal for mercy.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1941 (Famous Fantastic Mysteries)

The seller offered this as a starting bid of $24.99. Ouch. These ancient 'zines are beginning to get a bit pricey as the heat is stoked on the horror collectible market. In any event. check out the lurid images of clearly nude women. Lovecraft often blanched at these kind of lurid covers for his stories. The seller states: The October, 1941 issue of FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, featuring two acknowledged classics -- H. P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" and J. U. Giesy's "Palos of the Dog Star Pack". Condition: cover shows wear along edges, otherwise VG-F. Buyer pays postage.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gleanings: 1932 October 30

In a letter to Robert Barlow, HPL apparently sent a copy of "The Recluse". Only one issue had ever been printed, and by 1932 it had been declared worth $3.00 per copy by a bookseller, Meredith Janvier of Baltimore. A princely sum for a single issue in those days. Cook's finances went badly in 1930, according to HPL, and the back issues of the printing were apparently lost. Lovecraft said Cook's "posessions were moved from palce to place." That may mean he abandoned the issues, or they were seized.

O Fortunate Floridian, p. 41

Just so you can compare, L. W. Currey quotes extant issues of The Recluse at $1,250. They state this:

RECLUSE, THE. Edited by W. Paul Cook. Athol, Mass.: Issued by W. Paul Cook... at The Recluse Press, 1927 (volume 1, number 1). Large octavo, single issue, original pictorial gray wrappers printed in black. All published. The only issue of this legendary magazine. Includes the first printing of H. P. Lovecraft's long essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature" (pp. 23-59), plus poems and short stories by Clark Ashton Smith, Donald Wandrei, H. Warner Munn, Frank Belknap Long and others. W. Paul Cook printed and published this "one-shot that represented the first undisputedly amateur magazine devoted to fantasy... Only 100 copies were printed. Cook described it as 'the realization of a dream, long cherished, of the publication of a magazine to please the producer only. Nothing will be paid for contributions and the magazine will, as have former efforts, be issued as an amateur and money cannot buy it.' He had been the individual who persuaded Lovecraft to write the essay, a pioneering survey of the field of weird fiction." - Warner, All Our Yesterdays, p. 16. Cook planned to publish a second issue of THE RECLUSE in 1930, but it was never published. Some of the material intended for publication therein was published later in THE GHOST. Pavlat and Evans, Fanzine Index (1965), p. 90. Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), p. 804. Joshi I-B-ii-232. Several closed tears to spine panel professionally repaired, several corners dog-eared, some soiling and staining to rear cover, a very good copy. This rare and very important amateur magazine is seldom found in better condition. (#108210) Price: $1,250.00

Lovecraft's Legacy: Rare Acolyte (1945)

Item sold for $67.00 !! Amazing!! (Yep, Chrispy lost this auction, too.) Darrell Schweitzer stated: THE ACOLYTE #11, Summer 1945. Rare and very important fanzine, focussed on the LOVECRAFT CIRCLE, published by Francis Towner Laney and Samuel D. Russell. Contributing editors include Lovecraft correspondents Duane Rimel and F. Lee Baldwin. Of greatest Lovecraftian interest is an article, "Interlude with Lovecraft" by Stuart Morton Boland, which I do not think has ever been reprinted. Boland describes corresponding with Lovecraft while he (Boland) was investigating pre-Columbian archeology. Lovecraft asks about Mexican gods that might fit into his Mythos. August Derleth seems to have actually followed up on this. If Boland's claims can be verified, there's a nugget of a good scholarly article here. Also, "Criteria for Criticism" by Laney (who was one of the most intelligent and articulate fans of the period), "A Scientifictional History of the Future" by Elmer Perdue (which rather absurdly tries to work out the history of the future from pulp SF), a column by "Weaver Wright" (Forrest J. Ackerman). There is a letter from E. HOFFMANN PRICE which is of very great interest, because he describes his first-hand impressions of both ROBERT E. HOWARD and H.P. LOVECRAFT.
Alas, this is not one of the world's great copies. It is stable rather than good. It was brittle at the edges and has been repaired with non-yellowing tape to arrest chipping. The last page is particularly affected. At one point a chip reaches into the text and damages two words (which from context are obviously "of the"). Laney used poor quality paper, which doubtless makes this magazine even rarer, because few copies have survived. The pages are actually quite supple. This is good enough to xerox from, as long as you are careful not to crease it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Songs of Four Decades: Arthur Goodenough

Well Chrispy lost another ebay auction. Heh. From the illustration, it looks like it's bound precisely as W Paul Cook bound Walter Coates book of poetry (that I do have).

I'll have a bit more on Goodenough later. Stay tuned in a few days.

"Land of Allen And Other Verse" by Walter John Coates.

{I was pleased to acquire this item - one of my rare purchases on ebay. I usually lose!!}

Rare Recluse Press
"Land of Allen And Other Verse" by Walter John Coates. Published by W. Paul Cook. The Recluse Press MCMXXVIII (1928). W. Paul Cook (1880-1948) is best known as a friend and publisher of H. P. Lovecraft.Cook was an important member of the Lovecraft Inner Circle. In 1928 W.Paul Cook printed approximately 250 unbound sets of Lovecrafts "The Shunned House" for The Recluse Press.However, the sheets were not bound at that time. Approximately 150 sets of unbound sheets eventually found their way into the possession of Arkham House in 1959 where they were offered for sale in an unbound state. About 50 copies were sold in that state. The remaining 100 copies were bound by Arkham House and offered for sale in 1961. Cook also printed Donald Wandrei "Ecstasy & Other Poems" (The Recluse Press, 1928 Ltd to 322 copies.) The Recluse Press only lasted from 1925-1929.

Walter John Coates was born near Lowville, NY, on November 9, 1880. He died of a heart attack on July 29, 1941, aged sixty. Coates was a Universalist minister, storekeeper, poet, printer and bibliographer. W. Paul Cook was a close family friend. The Vermont Historical Society published his Bibliography of Vermont Poetry and has a Coates collection.
Book is in very good condition, nice tight bindings.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

August Derleth to Donald Wandrei (1945)

Going slightly afield, these two partners and friends of Lovecraft. come together in this signed book. (1945)

Recluse Press (1926)

From time to time I like to snag images of Recluse Press titles - those printed by Lovecraft's friend W Paul Cook. Unfortunately, $500 for this copy is out of Chrispy's price range.

Read the notes by the seller: With a preface by Samuel Loveman.The Recluse Press,1926.FIRST EDITION/FIRST PRINTING.HARDCOVER.Penned name of former owner in the blank front end page.@" X 2" chip to top right area of the blank back end page.Pastedown title on front board.LIGHT rubbing to board tips.SOLID & CLEAN,BRIGHT & CRISP.GOOD +. 31 pages.SIGNED BY FRANK BELKNAP LONG.LONG'S FIRST PUBLISHED WORK.Twenty poems including one on reading Arthur Machen. LIMITED PRINTING OF 315 copies released ! The Recluse Press' First Title !
HERE is a LEGENDARY title in the flesh & SIGNED !!

.........THE PROPHET.....
"He stood by the river and whistled through his hands
And ibises from Egypt filled the morning lands;
They circled in the air,and their wings caught the sun
And they turned gold and crimson ere his song was done.
II knew he was a prophet,and I swore by my hat
To place on Hathor's altar a yellow tiger-cat:
But then he somehow heard me,and though I tried to fly
He turned and cursed,and I became-a shadow on
the sky ! "

Sounds a bit like H.P.Lovecraft's NYARLARTHOTEP !
HERE is the Cthulhu Mythos author in his first rare work !

Gleanings: A New Feature

Many folks who read this blog don't have the numerous books that I have. So, from time to time, I'll add some gleanings and maybe some comments or commentary.


O Fortunate Floridian is the correspondence of Lovecraft and Barlow (2007). In 1931 (p.12) HPL is still calling him "Mr. Baelow" as Lovecraft did. Once he got a feel for the personality, he became loose and used jive talk in his letters. He began to spin his letters to the ear of the reader-correspondent.

In this case, Barlow must have mentioned he had rabbits (his letter is not extant). Now aged 40, Lovecraft is still (in his mind) the scientist-adventurist. His paradigm as a child were the Naturalists and scientists of Brown University whose careers matured in the late Victorian era. He followed with avid fascination adventurers who went to the North and South poles. He knew virtually all the latest reports out of Egypt's excavations and elsewhere.

"I was much interested in your rabbit information, for the phenomena described were wholly new to me. As a practical naturalist I lack observation & experience!"

Two things to note here. "Rabbit information" is that odd Lovecraftian construction. It's formal but at once probing. It is neutral, but open ended enough to let Barlow say more at a later date if he so chooses. No doubt, Lovecraft hadn't a care about rabbits, though he must have noticed as a child his grandfather telling him about the big jacks of Idaho as different from the eastern rabbits. He put that element in Colour Out of Space.

Lovecraft had observed cats all his life yet we really don't know if he was a casual observer or ig he intimately knew their anatomy and systems. For instance, he shows no sign of ever being an amateur cat veterinarian. His uncle was a doctor, but he never lets on that he saw or experiemented in anatomy.

Another oddity is that at this time he must have been insistent on mentioning his Erich Zann was out in Creeps by night. He mentions it 5 times in a few months of correspondence.

By October 1932 ( a year later) Lovecraft addresses him as "My dear Mr. barlow", and in November 1932 it becomes "my dear Barlow". By August 1933 he is signing with a backwards H P Lovecraft signature and "Yr most oblig'd, most obt Servt". This is a sure mark of deep affection. On August 21, 1933 he starts out "Esteemed Laureate" In September he addresses him by the appelate, "Dear Ar-E'ch-Bei" and signs "E'ch-Pi-El".

Friday, December 14, 2007

Interesting anecdote about Whispers

Here is what the seller states:

This is the June 1975 edition of Whispers. Edited and published by Stuart David Schiff , Fayetteville, NC. This is issue is inscribed and signed by Stuart Sciff. This serious, quarterly small press magazine was devoted to horror, fantasy and the macabre, and intended to take the place of The Arkham Collector. Though having no official connection with Arkham House, Whispers published fiction and poetry by authors published by Arkham House, along with news, articles, criticism, and artwork. Contents include 'The Glove' by Fritz Leiber, 'Hamadryad' by Carl Jacobi, 'Ladies in Waiting' by Hugh B. Cave, 'One Day in the Life of H P Lovecraft' by Frank Belknap Long, and much more. Book is tight and clean with minimal edgewear. No torn, stained, or loose pages.

The Shunned House

Holy Cthulhu! This is a rare item, but WOW. It's for sale right now for 0nly $13,500.00.

By H.P. Lovecraft
Athol, Massachusetts W. Paul Cook - Recluse Press 1928.
First Edition of the Authors First Book.
Of the first edition of 300 sets of sheets printed, the book was not issued during Lovecrafts lifetime and a number of unbound sheets were damaged and unused, this is one of 50 sets of folded unbound sheets that Arkham House started selling in circa 1952 with an Arkham House copyright notice affixed to the copyright page.
Enclosed in a custom full morocco clamshell box.
A cornerstone Lovecraft piece!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Galleon 1935: Lovecraft Poem

The Galleon - A Journal Of Literary Achievement. May-June 1935. Volume One. Number Four. Sponsored by The Galleon Writers' Guild, Reading, PA. The book contains the poem Background by H.P. Lovecraft----the FIRST APPEARANCE of the poem. The book also contains Mass At Eight by August Derleth. Magazine Edited by Lloyd Arthur Eshback, founder of Fantasy Press. The book has a softcover. The cover is in average condition because of moderate wear and soiling. The bottom two inches of the spine ocver is missing. There is damp staining to the front cover and back cover. The binding is good. The pages are good but have yellowed slightly. There is a damp stain to the first four pages. The book has light dogearing to the lower right corner of the first 8 pages. The Galleon - A Journal Of Literary Achievement Book is approx. 5 x 7.75 inches and has 48 pages.


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